Professional apologizer: Get hired for the sorriest job
Those are among the qualifications you'll need to snag a professional apologizer position at Southwest Airlines under Fred Taylor Jr. It's one of the travel industry's coolest gigs, brought to light by a recent article in the Chicago Tribune. But WalletPop went one step further: We interviewed Taylor to find out how you can get your sorry self to say you're sorry for a living.
The pay is better than a schoolteacher, Taylor confirmed, and the benefits are outstanding. (Unfortunately, and it pains us to tell you, there are no openings at the moment. We're so very sorry.)
- You'll need a college degree but it doesn't have to be in communications or another writing field.
- You'll probably need plenty of experience in customer service or a related post at Southwest. Taylor's staff averaged around seven years when he hired them.
- You must have a working knowledge of the entire operation to clarify potential difficulties. A technical aviation background doesn't hurt either.
- You'll have to pass Taylor's test, which includes responding to hypothetical things that can go wrong on a flight, such as a woman chewing on her seat cushion and taking her top off (oh wait, that did happen).
Then there's the actual execution of the Big Sorry.
"You must quickly translate a situation and formulate a response," he said. "You have to be able to assess the circumstance, understand what the issue is, what led to the issue, and turn it around to a response that the customer can relate to. We want to write it in terms that are personal, heartfelt and free of jargon."
Oh yeah, be prepared to work holidays because that's often when incidents happen.
Keep practicing, readers. Maybe one day you'll have what it takes for the sorriest of jobs. As we finished the chat, I asked Taylor to apologize to me for absolutely nothing. A good sport, he quickly chirped: "I wholeheartedly apologize for the inconvenience you incurrred. We'd like to invite you back for much better travel memories on Southwest."
Taylor is one link in a Southwest chain that logs the fewest complaints by far in the industry. When it comes to apologizing, this guy has nothing to be sorry for.